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Flying robot quadrotors play the James Bond theme at TED

29-Feb-2012 • Bond News

Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab. On Wednesday, Feb. 29, Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP Lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.

He also debuted a video of the lab’s quadrotors doing something they have never done before: play the James Bond theme!



In this demonstration, the “stage” is in a room fitted with infrared lights and cameras. The nano quads all have reflectors on their struts, which allows the camera system to plot their exact position and relay that information wirelessly to each unit.

Lab members can then assign each unit a series of waypoints in three-dimensional space that must be reached at an exact time. In this case, those times and places translate into notes on a keyboard or a strum of a guitar. Figuring out how to get from waypoint to waypoint most efficiently and without disturbing their neighbors is up to the robots.

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